Airbag NewsFord's Volvo division recalled more than 122,000 '98 models because customers have complained about the passenger-side airbags going off while they were washing their cars.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering regulating airbags, beginning with the '03 model year. NHTSA is proposing a new system for testing airbags to prevent children and small adults from being killed by inflating airbags, which would hopefully eliminate between 60 and 95 percent of airbag-related deaths.
Survey SaysJ.D. Power and Associates' newest finding is that Ford has the industry's most loyal owners. A whopping 61 percent followed up their purchase with another Ford vehicle. The industry average is currently 46 percent, the highest loyalty average since the mid-'80s. Next in line for repeat business were Lexus with 57 percent, Toyota with 55 percent, Mercedes-Benz with 54 percent, and Chevrolet with 52 percent. The J.D. guys also noted that Ford's win is likely linked to its fullsize trucks. The bad news was for those mini-utes; a mere 20 percent of buyers returned to the same brand.
Diesel Reaches One-Million MarkYou know that 7.3L Power Stroke diesel found in the Ford F-Series Super Duty? Well, Navistar International Transportation Corporation says that it just produced the millionth one of 'em, which went into an F-550. Navistar probably wasn't too surprised by the landmark, there has been such demand for the mill, the plant has had to crank out 1,400 each day and manufacture 330,000 each year. The company also announced that it let the California Air Resources Board know that it has the ability to reduce harmful emissions and clean up California's air. It introduced an International-brand school bus with a low-emissions engine running on ultra-low-sulfur fuel, so there's none of the fumes associated with diesels.
I Will Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a Hamburger TodayFive McDonald's restaurants have signed a deal with a local transportation authority to make it so that people who find the typical 131-second wait at the drive-thru just unacceptably long can shave off a whopping 15 seconds. Eager eaters in Orange County, California, can take advantage of the same basic technology used to avoid stopping on toll roads. A transponder on cars will send a signal to an antenna at the Mickey D's, and then it will calculate the fee and bill the driver for the food.
4xWebIf you're searching for axle articulation (and what serious off-roader isn't?), you may wish to check out the installation and test of Metal Made Rite's new Revolver Shackles on 4x4review.com. The shackles seem to defy the laws of physics with their swing-away design to allow axles to droop considerably more while still providing a stable ride. 4x4review.com explores how well they really perform in the rigors of off-roading.
The Web site also takes a look this month at the Gearless Locker from Tractech. After a short marketing sabbatical, the hyped locker hits the retail stores. With all the convenience of a drop-in locker, Tractech claims this to be a great investment for the budget minded traction seeker. Follow along in 4x4review.com for the review, full installation, and testing to see how easy it is to install one and how well it performs off-road.
Quick Test: 2000 Dodge DurangoDid you dig the looks of the Durango when it debuted in 1998? The midsize with available third-row seating? The awesome towing capability? The way it fits easily into parking spaces? Then you'll love the 2000 model.
There have only been a few updates, but the big news for 2000 is the addition of the 4.7L V-8 and R44E transmission. With just the driver in the vehicle, it'll smoke a 5.2L-equipped Durango. It turns the otherwise lethargic Durango into something that's fun to drive.